Drivers of Resistance

There are several factors that have contributed to the growing crisis of antibiotic resistance. One main driver is the overuse and misuse of antibiotics in human medicine. Antibiotics are often prescribed unnecessarily for viral infections like colds and flu that they cannot treat. When antibiotics are prescribed more than needed, it increases the chance that bacteria will develop resistance. Another factor is the excessive use of antibiotics in livestock and agriculture. To promote growth and prevent disease, farm animals are routinely given antibiotics even when they are not sick. This widespread antibiotic use in livestock breeding facilitates the development and spread of resistant bacteria. Poor infection control and lack of basic sanitation in some areas have also facilitated the spread of resistant bacteria from person to person.

Resistance is Spreading Globally

It is estimated that Global Antibiotic Resistance bacteria already cause over 2.8 million infections and 35,000 deaths each year in the US alone. However, the problem is widespread and increasing internationally. Recent studies show that resistant pathogens are present in every part of the world. Due to increased global travel and trade, resistant bacteria can spread rapidly across international borders. For example, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) emerged first in healthcare settings but has since spread worldwide in the community. Drug-resistant strains of common pathogens like E. coli, Streptococcus pneumoniae and Salmonella are proliferating globally, limiting treatment options. Untreatable gonorrhea has also been reported, showing how resistance can develop even to our most powerful antibiotics. Overall antimicrobial resistance threatens global health security and progress in modern medicine.

Public Health Burden

The growing challenge of antibiotic resistance exacerbates the global public health burden in several ways. When infections can no longer be treated with existing drugs, it leads to poorer treatment outcomes and increased mortality from previously treatable conditions. For example, drug-resistant tuberculosis is difficult and costly to treat, causing delays and additional complications. It also increases healthcare costs as more expensive "last resort" antibiotics must be used. Resistant infections prolong hospital stays and increase medical expenses both for healthcare facilities and individuals. Beyond direct impacts, antibiotic resistance also has economic consequences by reducing labor productivity from illness and by imposing costs on societies and agricultural industries. According to the World Bank, resistance could potentially cost the global economy $100 trillion by 2050 if no actions are taken. It clearly poses serious risks to both public health and economies worldwide

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